Back in 2001, the Minnesota Twins drafted a catcher from St. Paul as the first overall pick over big-name collegiate players like Mark Prior and Mark Teixeira. Sunday, Mauer played the final game with the Twins of his possible Hall of Fame career. It was an amazing sendoff.
Mauer was greeted early by his daughters at first base:
He got a rousing ovation after his first at-bat:
In the eighth inning, he had a Mauer special with a double to left center:
Remember, Mauer had to move to first base from catcher due to concussion issues. He did, however, catch one last inning:
Now catching for the Minnesota @Twins, #7, JOE MAUER pic.twitter.com/gg9FDKVevX— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) September 30, 2018
Wow, what a moment. The tears!
Mauer finishes his 15-year career hitting .306/.388/.439 (124 OPS+) with 428 doubles, 143 homers, 923 RBI and 1018 runs. The six-time All-Star won the 2009 MVP, five Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves. He's the only AL catcher to ever win a batting title and he won three. The Twins made the playoffs four times in Mauer's tenure.
Among catchers, Mauer is eighth all time in WAR, trailing seven Hall of Famers and immediately in front of Hall of Famers Gabby Harnett and Mickey Cochrane.
Mauer hasn't committed to whether or not he'll retire, but this is a natural point for retirement. He's in the final year of his eight-year, $184 million deal. He's born-and-raised Minnesota, has never played anywhere and has a family there now. He's also not likely to be in the Twins' plans moving forward, has battled concussion issues in the latter part of his career and has made well over $200 million in his career.
Should he decide to keep playing, that's his right but he'll probably be doing it elsewhere.
Regardless, Sunday was a great day for Mauer and Twins fans alike.